Personally, I experience the greatest degree of pleasure in having contact with works of art. They furnish me with happy feelings of intensity such as I cannot derive from other realms.
- Einstein -

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunset Desk

Our apologies for being out of commission for the last week. We’ve been working on our first resolution (removal of the river rock). And we are almost there! Our backyard is looking amazingly bare and the receivers of the rock have projects of their own to begin. We’ll keep you updated.

Today I want to go back to a blog a few weeks ago about paint. That is where we will begin. Who thought purple, bubblegum pink and lime green paint would turn into a fun reminder of an Arizona sunset while being a functional and amusing craft desk.

We embarked on this project last fall when Steven’s sister, Lori, mentioned she was in the market for the perfect ‘L’ shaped desk. She lives in a small apartment where she spends most of her day crafting remarkable paper crafts. It is even more miraculous since she is clinically blind. Lori has some vision and what comes out of it is amazing. But back to the task at hand. Steven and I decided we had enough time to find and put the life back into an old desk just in time for Lori’s birthday and Christmas. We were looking for a desk that was functional and had a lot of surface area to spread out. At the same time it had to be small enough to fit into her apartment.

On one of our regular runs to Arizona State University Surplus we found what we were looking for. ASU Surplus is where the local university sells their old, outdated furniture and odds and ends. We end up buying the crazy the stuff. ASU Surplus has inspired many projects that we will speak of on a later date. That day we found a retro, metal desk and a typing table with retractable sides that slid perfectly under the desk.

To paint we took the entire desk apart hoping to be able to reassemble.

Near completion we ran out of purple spray paint. As mentioned in a previous blog we ran to buy more paint only to find there was none left. We came home with pink and lime green and you can see the outcome.

The one thing you don’t see is that we were left with 2 extra pieces once reassembled. We are still not sure where they belong but we kept them just in case.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Resolution 2011

We have two resolutions this year. This is a big deal! We are making two resolutions and we normally make less than one New Year's resolution. So here we go:

1.) Remove all the river rock in the yard (about 30 tons left - we removed 20 tons last year)

2.) Complete all the unfinished projects:
  • Retouch the baseboards and complete the baseboards around the office wall
  • Complete the office inner magnetic wall
  • See resolution number 1
  • Guest bathroom (Steven deconstructed the entire bathroom one night. It has been out of commission for the last 6 months.)

  • Finish putting up the security cameras
  • Fix the light in the entry way
Now that it is posted on the blog we have to be successful!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Street Sign Doorway

Well after scrapping the bookcase idea to frame in the door to the office we came up with a more unusual idea. While at the bike junkyard in Rye, Az, where we were buying the rusted frame for the mailbox, we noticed the man had a green bike route sign for sale. Being cycling enthusiasts we decided we couldn’t pass up the sign for 20 dollars and took it home. At that point we had no idea what to do with the sign but that is how good ideas sometime start. We held up the bike sign next to the door and quickly realized that we were in the market for enough street signs to completely face the enclosure.

We immediately started planning and constructing the wall, and definitely not in that order. From a construction standpoint I was excited that we would be facing the wall because that left me more options to frame it, as the framing would not be visible in the finished design. I used metal studs to frame the archways as they would bend nicely and create a perfect arch. In between the metal studs I framed with wood studs to give the wall the necessary strength to hang the door.

With the framing completed we went shopping for interesting used street signs. We found a yellow street flooded sign and a Mill Avenue sign at a local antique shop and our collection was now up to three items. A search on craigslist.org put us in touch with a local man looking to sell a stop sign, a 45 mph speed limit sign, and a handicap parking sign. Through some negotiation we landed these at a very good price. The final sign was a golf cart crossing sign we found at a different local antique shop.

The hardest part of the entire process was cutting the first sign. We decided to trim the sign to size using a jig saw with metal cutting blades. Since the wall was going to also act as a door jam we needed to have safe and smooth edges to the signs to avoid having a death trap as the door to the office. We purchased a multi-pack of the most teeth per inch (TPI) metal cutting jigsaw blades available and went home to cut the signs. Cutting one sign we went through the entire pack of blades. The sign looked great and the cut was smooth but at this rate the fabrication of the wall was going to break the bank. Returning to the hardware store we bought two different multi-packs of blades, one the same TPI as the first round and one with slightly less TPI. The idea was to try to cut the next sign using the rougher blade; we would see the quality of the cut and the durability of the blade and make a decision from there on how to proceed. We cut the next sign in about a tenth of the time and the cut was smoother as the blade stayed sharp and true throughout the cut. In fact, we used the one blade through all the rest of the cuts with no challenges. It is amazing the results you can get when you use the proper tools. 

The final product was an amazingly interesting looking addition to our house and the Mill Ave sign added that Tempe touch that we love. We hung the door and used a ball catch assembly rather than a traditional latching assembly to keep our options open for potential door knobs. We now had privacy in the office which was a key when the wife works from home. I live by the motto “A happy wife means a happy life!” Finishing this project will make a huge step towards my happy life.